The four major professional sports leagues—the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL—and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) aren’t going quietly into the night after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law the state’s latest sports betting bill. The national sports organizations have asked US District Court Judge Michael Shipp for a temporary injunction to put the brakes on the state’s plan to begin offering sports bets on October 26.
The leagues are challenging the state’s new betting law by pointing out that it was simply another version of a similar law that fizzled out three years ago. “Because this effort is no more lawful than New Jersey’s past ones, it, too, should be enjoined,” the leagues stated.
In order to receive the injunction, the sports leagues must be able to demonstrate “immediate and irreparable harm” if sports betting goes live at Monmouth Park on Sunday.
State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, who sponsored the bill Christie signed, is confident that the leagues won’t get the injunction they’re seeking. “I have a hard time believing that a judge will determine that the leagues can prove they can be irreparably damaged by Monmouth racetrack’s taking bets, when people are betting every single day legally in Nevada,” Sen. Lesniak told the Associated Press.
Lesniak also pointed out the perceived double standards sports leagues operate in when it comes to sports betting, highlighting the growing appeal of fantasy sports and daily fantasy sports sites as a way for the leagues to control the level of gambling on their sports. “They want a monopoly — they want to have their gambling through fantasy sports,” the senator said. Lesniak’s comments come a few days after the NFL’s New England Patriots signed a partnership deal with daily fantasy sports site DraftKings.
“They are not against us having sports betting, they just want to control it and run it.”
Despite the threat of the injunction, Monmouth Park’s legal advisor Dennis Drazin confirmed that it’s full-steam ahead in anticipation of opening its sportsbook this weekend to take bets on the NFL.